One of the first things that needs to be determined whenever you start a new fitness and weight-loss plan is to find the right exercise program for you.
As we have stated before, there is not a one-size-fits-all in the world of weight-loss and fitness. There are MANY, perhaps innumerable, factors that come into play. We are all unique individuals with unique bodies that will and do respond differently to exercise of different types. Not only that, but other limitations like activity level, physical limitations, age, area, access to equipment, time and more affect what you will be able to do.
I can’t tell you: You must do this exact exercise program! But instead, I am going to direct you to resources and mention differing factors to consider to help YOU determine the best for exercises for you during this challenge. And then once you have selected some exercises that work for you (not to mention this could even evolve and change over the next 90 days as you find what works and what doesn’t) we want to encourage you to set out an initial plan and set those exercise goals ahead of time. Setting your goals is one major factor in keeping you motivated and on track (like the type of exercise and how often) – so we are going to determine this for your exercise plan! I will also share with you my exercise experience.
The 5 Major questions to ask regarding exercise for you are:
- Determine your goals for this challenge – Ask yourself the following questions to help you know what you want to accomplish: Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to build muscle and strength? Do you want to tone? Do you want to gain more energy? Do you want to just start doing something for general health? All or some combination of the above?
- Decide how much time you can set aside for your exercise – How much time do you have available to exercise and what time can you find in your day to include it. One thing that I had to do was go to bed earlier to get up earlier. To do this, I had to cut out some television time, stop playing with my phone at night while in bed (as this disrupted my sleep for a lot of reasons), etc. This freed up the time in the morning I needed to get my workouts in!
- Understand the tools you have available to you – What do you have access to and available to you for your exercise? Know that you don’t have to have a single.piece.of.exercise.equipment to workout. You don’t need a gym membership, you don’t need many things. While these things may be nice, you don’t need them. But you do need to determine what you have to work with! Honestly, there are thousands of options for working out at home found all over the web. YouTube is a fabulous resource for fitness and workout videos of all types and for all times from a couple of minutes to an hour. You obviously have access to the internet because you are reading this, so this really opens up your world!
- Ask yourself what exercise programs have worked (or not) for you in the past – This is always a great place to start as you already know what has worked well for your body in the past. Most all of us are starting this challenge having exercised and done challenges before. And be honest with yourself as well. If something worked for you in the past its a good bet that it just might give you that extra motivation you are looking for; you can keep reminding yourself that if it worked once it can work again – just stay with it!
- Be honest with yourself and think of what you enjoy doing – Remember these exercises are not just an ends to your goal, but they are something that you are going to spend a lot of time doing over the next 90 days. As such, why not enjoy doing it as you go? Do you enjoy walking, running, aerobics (fun tidbit about me: step aerobics are a blast – I’m usually the long guy in the class. :)), the 30-minute videos with a certain famous trainer? This one factor can be extremely important as well because if you enjoy something, you will most likely stick with it longer!
So let’s look for a quick example. Here’s how I answered these questions myself to help you work through it as well:
- My goals: I want to lose weight (probably most of us have this one) but also find an exercise plan that I can adopt for a lifetime
- Time: With all the demands of work, my time on this site, and family my time is pretty much limited to the mornings before work. As such, I needed to find something that I could do before my family gets up. As I mentioned above, I found that I could cut some of the non-essentials (like television and that dreaded phone time) and find that extra time.
- My tools: We actually have a treadmill already so that really helped me with my decision. And I have a few small exercise tools that I’ve used in the past (pushup bars, pullup bars, yoga pad) that I’ve been able to pull into my arsenal.
- What has worked in the past? Hands down I can say running and lifting weights. But because I don’t have time or choose to make the expense of a gym membership, that cuts out the lifting weights option. I chose running because I know that it helped me slim down in the past – I just won’t say how many years ago that was. 🙂
- What I enjoy? This brings me back to running again as I enjoy the feeling of training my body to run for long periods of time and watching the scenery for the miles on the run.
- My Decision: I decided I would start running again – but by taking it slow (articles coming how I maximized my exercise) and not going so fast that I hurt myself. I also decided to use those pushup bars and implement some bodyweight exercises (where my body weight provides the resistance) including pushups, pullups, crunches, and more!
So hopefully this example will help you as you work through these questions to help you determine what is best.
Here are also a list of websites that might help you determine some suggested exercises based on many of these questions as well:
- First, check out the exercise personality test from Exercise.about.com. It is worth taking a minute to take the quiz and see the suggestions they have!
- Fitness Magazine has a list of suggested exercise for your fitness/weightloss goals. I did note that most of them are a class like setting, but you can do these at home with an internet connection and YouTube.
- Shape Magazine site has a fun flow-chart of ideas – This is fun IF you don’t have an idea of what to do and love a random choice. Follow the flow-chart and go to the links for the workout.
- Check out the many apps available on your phone for exercise. You just might find an app that might spark an interest in something you haven’t even considered yet.
- Another great way to find a specific workout for your factors is a simple Google search with your factors selected. For example just try some key words that fit the answers to your questions (being as specific as you want): best 20-minute exercise for weight-loss, or, best exercise for toning arms. You will get tons of ideas and options to choose from. Don’t forget to check the video results as well as all of these searches will also lead you to a video on YouTube!
At a minimum, we want to really encourage you to find an exercise that fits you, draft out a plan (3-4 times per week at a certain time) at least for the first 30-days and then as you gain more endurance and experience and find what is working for you, you can then adjust accordingly. But at first, making that initial plan will help you motivated and get you thinking that you can do this! Because we both know you can. And we both know that you will! Note that one resource that may help you plan your workouts is the workout download from this health downloads bundle. You can print it off as many times as you need, or you can even edit it by typing in the boxes after you download.
Tomorrow we’ll look at another part of this challenge – your diet – and yet again find the diet that fits you best!
Need to catch up? Come join us on this challenge from the very beginning by clicking on the 90-Day Fitness and Health Challenge and sign up to start receiving your automated challenge from the very beginning!
One final thing…we also have a private Facebook Group where you can engage in discussions, receive encouragement and talk to others that are participating in this challenge for more ideas! Head to the Fitness and Health Challenge with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!
Disclaimer: We are not licensed health professionals. We are only a couple that are excited to offer you a place where you can find encouragement and resources to help you in your quest for health, weight loss and fitness. Any tips we share should not be construed as medical advice but is only there to let you know of other options for your health. If you have questions or before starting any weight loss or fitness challenge please make sure to talk to your doctor.